Two young men were killed by trains -- one was ruled a "suicide by train" -- in the greater Lehigh Valley area on Sunday. There's no indication the deaths were related, but were instead a bizarre coincidence.
On Sunday, a 19-year-old Wilson man died after being hit by a Norfolk-Southern Train near Island Park Road along the Lehigh River in Glendon, according to Pennsylvania state police at the Belfast barracks.
The man's legs were severed, said Easton Police, and he died of blunt force trauma injuries at St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill. His death has been ruled a suicide by the Northampton County Coroner, according to a Lehigh Valley Live report. His name has not been released pending notification of his next of kin.
Similarly, Alburtis saw a "suicide by train" when a man was killed in May 2011 when a train hit his car.
Also on Sunday, man in his 20s was also found killed on railroad tracks in Weissport, Carbon County, according to a Morning Call report. Weissport is about 20 miles north of Allentown. He may have been intoxicated; the coroner has not yet ruled on his manner and cause of death.
Train accidents involving people and vehicles aren't uncommon in the Lehigh Valley. A Bethlehem man was killed by a train while trying to remove a cast iron pipe from the tracks near Emmaus in April 2011. That death was ruled an accident.
A woman escaped injury when she accidentally drove onto train tracks near South Mall outside of Allentown last month and got stuck there.
Train deaths make up about 3 percent of all suicides in the United States, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, which released a report last year saying trespasser suicides are a growing problem. The administration is studying whether fences and other barriers can be a more effective deterrent.
A national suicide prevention hotline is available at 1-800-273-8255
About 15 people in the Philadelphia area committed suicide by train from 2006 to 2011, according to a Philly.com report that noted how traumatic the tragedy can be for train operators driving a 400-ton locomotive.
2012 marked the first year the railroad administration attempted to collect data on the number of suicide train deaths. Rail lines are now required to include the medical examiners’ manner-of-death findings in information submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration.